Three Questions 2/28/14

1. What tasks have you completed recently?

Recently I have completed multiple Spanish assignments, chemistry mini lab blogs, and the planning of an essay. Also, I have completed service hours at the animal shelter and started planning my summer break.
2. What have you learned recently?

Recently I have learned about balancing chemical equations, conversions, Spanish commands, the Judicial Branch, and . In addition, I have learned that I might want to consider a career in foreign relations, a path I  had never considered before.
3. What are you planning on doing next?

Next, I plan on having a fun birthday weekend with my friends. Regarding school, I plan to raise my grades in Chemistry and Spanish 3, and to improve my conversion skills.


Foil Mini Lab

During our last mini lab, we attempted to find the thickness of aluminum foil. We discovered that aluminum foil is .014 millimeters thick.

We figured this out by first determining the volume in cubic centimeters. From there, we determined the area using conversions. After that, we found the volume in millimeters cubed in order to plug our values into the equation of volume/area=height. Finally, we used V/A=H to find the thickness of aluminum foil. Our result is pretty reliable because we utilized significant digits throughout our measurements and calculations to improve accuracy and precision.

Conservation of Mass Mini Lab

The conservation of mass means that in a chemical reaction, the mass before the change and the mass after the change is equivalent. Matter is conserved in a chemical reaction. I know this because it has been proved by many experiments, and is explained by the Law of Conservation of Mass.

In our mini lab, there was a predictable relationship. The mass of the reaction was conserved, but we lost some mass in the form of gas, which was expected. This would apply to any substance, including the possibility that mass was “lost” as a result of gas produced, even though it was still there, but was simply not included in the mass of the beaker contents after the reaction.

Our point was somewhat good. It was close to the line of best fit, but slightly under. We should have lost .4256 grams of gas for each gram of solid. We discovered this while graphing our class data. If 5 grams of solid was used, 2.2114 . I came to this conclusion by using the equation for the line of best fit for the class data (.4256x+.0834), and plugging in 5 for X. If 5 grams of gas was produced, 9.8231 grams of solid was used. I found this by using the equation x/.4256+.0834.

The Composition of BB’s

In our mini lab yesterday, our goal was to find what the BB’s were composed of. We came to the conclusion that, based on our results, they were composed of zinc. Other classmates had results that produced higher densities, so they found the BB’s to be composed of iron and steel, but our densities were slightly lower. Our conclusion is supported by our calculated densities for each amount of BB’s. The average density was around 7.024, and the density of zinc is 7.140g/ml.

Our data is reliable, but only to a point. We did not measure to the thousandths, and therefore our accuracy was impaired. Also, we did not remember to measure the water at the meniscus, so that possibly impacted the validity of our results. On the other hand, our calculations were performed tediously, so there is no doubt in my mind that they are correct.

Unfortunately our measurements were not very precise. We did not read to the thousandth of a decimal point, as we should have. In addition, our densities were not consistent, which shows that we either made a mistake in calculations or in measurement. These are mistakes my partner and I will be sure to correct in future labs.

Three Questions

1. What tasks have you completed recently?

Recently, I have completed service hours for my student government service project, read a third of a book on the wisdom of psycopaths, and baked cupcakes for Valentines Day. In terms of school, I have studied for two Spanish quizzes (which I did horribly on), completed multiple mini labs in Chemistry, and finished my coloring packet for anatomy.

2. What have you learned recently?

Recently, I have learned about the difference between the imperfect and preterite verb tenses in Spanish, how to name inorganic compounds in Chemistry, and what the microscopic anatomy of the nervous system looks like in Anatomy And Physiology.

3. What are you planning on doing next? 

Next, I am planning on studying my butt off for the upcoming nervous system test in Anatomy. Also, I plan to get ahead on my inorganic nomenclature worksheet for chemistry.

Smaller Than An Atom

Before the atom was ever seen, it was developed empirically through the work of many successful scientists. The development of the atom began with the work of John Dalton. He produced the first comprehensive theory of the atom, which included several postulates. Dalton proposed that matter is composed of indivisible particles, as we know them, atoms. He thought they were like little marbles, and was later proved wrong on the appearance side, but he developed the idea nonetheless.

Above: Dalton’s theory of the atom- a small marble.

The first scientist to challenge Dalton’s theories was J.J. Thomson. He proposed that there are charges in atoms by experimenting with cathode rays. When evidence showed that these rays were impacted by magnetic and electrical fields, Thomson determined that there must be a negative particle in an atom, what we now know as electrons. Consequently, he decided that these negatively charge particles must be surrounded by an oppositely charged substance. From here, Thomson developed the “plum pudding model”, as seen below.

Above: Thomson’s plum pudding model of the atom.

As a result of his work, Thomson was credited with being the first to the existence of subatomic particles. In addition, he determined the mass to charge ratio of an electron.

The next scientist to assist on the empirical development of the atom was Ernest Rutherford. Rutherford performed an experiment in which he bombarded a sheet of gold foil with alpha particles. He expected the particles to pass through, but discovered that some of the particles went through while some bounced in different directions. This observation resulted in the idea of the nucleus, or a heavy dense mass at the center of the atom.

Above: The result of Rutherford’s experiment.

The last contributor to the empirical image of the atom was Chadwick. By observing that the mass of an atom did not match what would be expected as a result of the weight protons and electrons, he discovered the existence of neutrons. As a result of having no charge, they were the last subatomic particle to be discovered.

In conclusion, the visual idea of an atom was developed through scientific research and observation without ever actually viewing the smallest building block of matter. While the contributing scientists did not have the microscopic power to visually see an atom, they were able to create an idea of its structure through experimental evidence. Through hard work and thorough research, these admirable scientists developed atom empirically before it was ever seen by the human eye.

Radioactivity PSA

Attention! This is an important announcement. The element Cobalt 60 is a dangerous radioactive isotope. This isotope is undergoing beta decay which results in negative particles. Cobalt 60 has a half life of 5.2714 years. As a result, it will take about 42.1712 years for 99% of the isotope to disappear.

This image exhibits general information on Cobalt 60.

This radioactive form of cobalt is produced as a by-product of nuclear reactor operations. We can protect humans from this Cobalt 60 when we don’t want to be exposed to it by being aware of any nuclear reactor leaks. Also, when undergoing certain medical treatments, the amount of exposure to this isotope can be discussed with the presiding physician, so as to limit possible risks. Lastly, Cobalt 60 is used in food irradiation, so it is important to make sure the energy balance in the nuclei of food atoms have not been disrupted by irradiation, which would make the food unstable or radioactive.

While it is important to be aware of harmful radioactive atoms, harmless radioactivity surrounds us on a daily basis. Natural sources of background radiation come in the form of cosmic rays, or radiation that reaches earth from outer space, animals, rocks, soil, and plants. This type of radioactivity is truly natural because it happens in nature without any human intervention. Artificial radiation comes from nuclear power stations, radioactive fallout from nuclear weapons testing, and x-rays.

The pie chart above exhibits the sources of radiation and their abundance.

In conclusion, it is simply necessary to distinguish the harmful from the harmless to ensure that radioactive particles do not wreak havoc. Be aware that Cobalt 60 is one of those dangerous radioactive particles that can cause harm to humans.

Old and New Materials

The modern day wonder of silk and the ancient art of samurai sword making are closely related. These creations started out with single uses. The samurai sword was used in battle, and silk was used to create clothing. In current times, the making of a samurai sword is both symbolic and sacred; while they are no longer used in battle, they are still considered beautiful and technologically advanced. Silk now has a variety of uses, including the creation of flexible electronics, gears that work in water, and bolts.

Above: A biodegradable circuit that contains silk.

Another similarity between the two is that they are both surrounded by misconceptions. Silk is thought of as a rich fabric to create beautiful ties and luxury garments, while in reality, it can form tiny needles, vein grafts, and medicine in the form of a credit card. These two objects also share a close connection in regards to creation. It takes days to perfect a samurai sword, just like it takes time to produce a needle made of silk. The physical and chemical reactions used to create these products are time consuming, but worth the effort seeing as they create phenomenal results.

Below: An example of a samurai sword.

Three Questions 1/31/14

1. What tasks have you completed recently?

Recently, I have completed challenging chemistry assignments, coloring pages for the nervous system in anatomy, bookwork for Spanish, and vocabulary studying for English. Outside of school, I have kept up with my workouts and social life while handling a heavy homework load.

2. What have you learned recently?

Recently, I have learned about the classification of matter, preterite and imperfect Spanish verbs, and the basic anatomy of the nervous system. Regarding out of school activities, I have learned how to properly walk dogs at the animal shelter. It can be a little tricky because the dogs are HUGE compared to me, so getting into the kennels, leashing two big dogs, and getting them out without a catch is a challenge.

3. What are you planning on doing next?

Next, I am planning on catching up on my studies because, as a result of being absent due to a death and the family and illness, I have fallen behind. I also plan on getting ahead on my new gigantic coloring packet for anatomy, and logging more hours for my community service project at the animal shelter.